My more comprehensive review of Love, Death and Robots, very very minor spoilers (in the ‘this one looks realistic’ kinda way):
Overall, the anthology would only surprise someone that was entirely new to science fiction, or thought that a JJ Abrams movie constitutes hard sci fi. Despite this, many of the characters are engaging and you want to see what happens to them (even if you’ve already guessed it).
The animation is generally quite lush, but the uncanny valley certainly makes a number of appearances in the more photo-realistic texture attempts - especially in the first one ‘Sonnie’s Edge’. Human proportions are toyed with, and they end up making the valley deeper due to the pretty lifelike skin and structures. Sonnie’s edge had some characters with too-short necks and too-small mouth/nose distances, and the effect was rather distracting. Most other offerings are in disparate cartoonish styles, from ‘Batman Animated Series Opening’ to ‘Overwatch Character Intro’.
The actual concepts explored were relatively weak, in general. They run the gamut of sci-fi tropes, and aren’t going to challenge anyone in that Asimov ‘holy crap robotranshumanism’ kinda way, or even in the HG Wells Timemachine ‘future humans are either cattle or cannabalistic troglodytes’ kind of way. It was more like ‘here’s a setting you can understand pretty well, with one element you’re not expecting’.
Because of this, I feel like the plots suffered as well. A lot of the drama in the end was because of very simple forces (something is very dangerous and unstoppable), rather than any of the actual concepts creating the drama. What I love about scfi-fi is when people just go bonkers when the weight of what they’re dealing with finally sits on them. Here, it’s typically ‘I’m screwed now because I will probably die’.
Most of the sex and nudity feels shoe-horned in to be edgy, save for a few cases. But considering how much tilted towards robots and death the narratives were, I figure the sex was supposed to be the ‘love’ part in many stories? There was some brotherly love, brief fatherly love, love of a pet-thing and one example of married people who loved each other, but everything else was honestly just ‘look they’re gonna have sex’ or ‘havin’ sex’. That’s not capital L love. Is that how we telegraph love, or even romance nowadays? This is why I spend a lot more time watching Pixar movies than R-rated fare…
Individual ratings. I won’t go too much into specific plot details, but I will be overanalyzing things sometimes. If they didn’t want that, they shouldn’t have made a sci-fi anthology:
Sonnie’s Edge: spectacular violence, lame protagonist motivations (what she was doing didn’t match what she could have been doing, given the setting), zero-to-sex in ten words. The visuals were pretty dang great, despite this being the most uncanny-valley for me. This has some of the weirder body proportions in the tiny details. One that I immediately felt ‘I’d like to see what happens to the main character next’ after watching it, despite not really liking how the story worked. - 7/10
Three Robots: Funny, very likable characters, commentary on humanity is what everyone would write on their very first try. Ending is what someone would think is a really creative idea when they were high, but normally would realise that it’s pretty much what any millenial would hallucinate after too long on youtube. 7/10
The Witness: reason A I will never watch any of this with my wife. Not just because of the extensive unnecessary nudity, but all of the obviously asian females in this anthology are either: a prostitute who can’t get her clothes back on, a sexy spirit that men become infatuated with (sexually, not emotionally or in any tangibly positive way), or a sexy spirit that men crave that becomes a prostitute. I’m a white dude, I never noticed the representation problem in cinema before, but my asian wife feels small when every asian female is either an exotic sex-thing, a weak character that supports someone else, or ‘the girl that comes in to distract the main guy from his real true love for half a season of the show’.
Otherwise: The entire plot of this one is fully understood by the viewer 5 seconds in, but the animation is gorgeous and the actual ‘acting’ is incredible. You believe the tension and fear and confusion of these animated characters. I’d love to see more stuff in this animation style, by these people. 7/10
Suits: the wholesome one. Nothing special here, but I liked the characters in that ‘ahh yes, that trope’ kinda way. The first appearance of actual genuine love! An almost tear near escape’d mine eye! 7/10
Sucker of Souls: super animation, the one with the most elaborate ‘Death’ out of any of the deaths, also just the most generic character tropes and a plot so far from theme as to be almost infuriating. Is this even sci-fi?! (No) 6/10
When the Yoghurt took over: eh. Obviously, I love the narrator’s voice. It’s The Brain. The story is the really obvious way to play this. Replace ‘yoghurt’ with anything else taking over and the story doesn’t change at all, just the visuals. 2/10
Beyond the Aquila Rift: one of my least favorite. Super uncomfortably realistic 3d sex, terribly shallow communication of the idea of ‘love’, least creative alien ever, unsatisfying predictable ending paired with very simple concept. 2/10
Good Hunting: kinda hated this one. Nudity was weirdly prevalent again, asian women are (unwilling, waiting to be taken by strong men BLEGH) naked exotic sex creatures, but main character is the ‘asexual asian man’ who is really smart and super great at fighting (and is good looking and super buff), but would never be desired as a sexual/romantic partner, or seek it out himself. Is he a monk? Why do all asian men have to be asexual mystics of some kind? In order to make their hapless ‘sexy but really doesn’t want to be’ female counterparts feel safe because sex is wrong? If the others blindly fetishize love, this one manages to demonize it. Could ramble about this one waaaay longer. 2/10
The Dump: this story is a dump. 1/10
Shape Shifters: I actually like this one, but it’s not sci fi at all, and the messages about war are… mixed. Plot is simple beyond belief. This one, above all others, is the ‘there’s a major variation in the world compared to ours, but NOTHING has changed historically because of this difference’. Brotherly love is here, and makes the story better. The violence is a little hard to watch. 7/10
Helping Hand: hard to watch at one part. Contains none of the 3 elements, unless you consider a satellite a robot. The entire plot would have been solved by ‘tying off’, which would obviously be a standard operating procedure of such things. The construction specialist in me gives this a -1000/10 for the lack of ‘a carabiner and a rope’, the appreciator of human drama gives a 6/10.
Fish Night: I hardly paid attention. I don’t care about these people, and the entire situation and all the dialogue is forced. Animation isn’t nice. 2/10
Lucky 13: Not bad. Straightforward, and you know what’s going down right away, but the main character looks cool and is well animated. Suffers a bit from ‘no-one is brave but the main character’ syndrome, and the way they do war doesn’t make a lick of sense. 6/10
Zima Blue: more along the lines of traditional sci-fi, but a little bit of a fizzle-out at the end. The writers don’t have as profound a thing to say as they think they do, and it lets down a cool artstyle. 6/10
Blindspot: I like this one, because it doesn’t try to do anything hard, but at least it’s fun. I’d watch this show on the reg if they added a cool plot to the fun character designs. 7/10
Ice Age: very… melodramatic. The blend of live-action and animated is fine, but nothing particularily interesting happens and the people onscreen don’t feel that believably excited about it either. *5/10
Multiversity: This one is trying to be both smart and funny, and really really really fails at being either. Some parts of it illicit a chuckle, but this is another one where they must have went forward with all of their first ideas. I hate hitler enough that I don’t find his death funny in any context, nor do I think that the catharsis of seeing him die is comparable to the horrors he enabled. Making him to be a laughable parody of a character is why people throw around the word Nazi and call everyone ‘literally Hitler’ for being any bit left or right of what they believe. 1/10.
Secret War: Maybe my favorite as a story, but it’s not sci-fi! The ending was supremely satisfying, and I liked the different Russians we briefly meet. 9/10